P.E.O. is a philanthropic organization for women. The organization was founded on January 21, 1869 by seven students at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. This circle of kindred spirits – bonded by their enthusiasm for women’s opportunities – eventually expanded to include women off campus, as well. Today, P.E.O. has grown from that tiny membership of seven to nearly a quarter of a million members in chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada, with headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. Friendship is the cornerstone of P.E.O. – it is the legacy left by our Founders and it thrives in our unique Sisterhood. P.E.O. exists to be a source of encouragement and support for women to realize their potential in whatever worthwhile endeavor they choose. The P.E.O. Sisterhood maintains six educational projects in the form of grants, scholarships and loans as well as the stewardship of Cottey College. Our sisterhood proudly makes a difference in women’s lives with six philanthropies that include ownership of a women’s college, Cottey College, and five projects that provide higher educational assistance:
All grants, scholarships and loans, with the exception of the International Peace Scholarship (IPS), require applicants be sponsored by a local chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood.